Developing an internet marketing strategy requires a breadth of knowledge across multiple disciplines. You need to know:
- How to develop a great website
- What marketing messages are right for your product or service.
- How to integrate social media messages into your strategy
- How to reach your target audience and get your website found on the internet.
Staying on top of how search engines rank websites is a really important aspect of an overall internet marketing strategy. Online marketing is not the same as traditional marketing, you can have the coolest website, a great product and some cutting edge marketing messages but if no visitors come to your website, you are not going to sell any products online are you?
Google issues a very general monthly report that it labels ‘Inside Search – Search Quality Highlights’. It gives a broad-strokes overview of where it is taking its ranking algorithms, allowing you to see where the trends are heading. In February Google announced that it made 40 changes, the highest number to date, which shows that search moves quickly! Here are the major trends in my opinion:
More locally relevant predictions on YouTube: For example a for the query [U2 in] performed on the US version of YouTube Google might predict [U2 in America], whereas the same search done on the Australian version might predict [U2 in Sydney]
Improvements to ranking for Local search results: improves the triggering of local universal results by relying more on the ranking of main search results as a signal
Improved local results: new system to find results from a users city more reliably, can now detect when both queries and documents are local to the searcher.
Google continued its work on promoting ‘fresh’ content in the changes it made to its algorithms in February. Google disabled two old classifiers relating to query freshness, it also updated its algorithm for image search to surface fresh images when they appear on the web, they have also applied new signals which allows them to surface fresh new content more quickly when it appears on the web. Google has also consolidated its signals for spiking topics, so they can rely on signals that they can compute in real time, keeping them ‘on trend’ for the spike in popularity of a particular topic. They have also updated the data in the Panda System making the famous ‘freshness’ update more accurate and more sensitive to recent changes in the web.
Google likes authority, which means knowing that they are returning the user with a reliable source for their particular query. In February Google adjusted it algorithm to more accurately detect official pages.
Google has also updated its SafeSearch algorithm for both image and search to ensure that it is better at detecting adult content in image searches and also making it less likely that irrelevant adult content will appear for most queries. Google has also worked on their auto-complete policy to make offensive and inappropriate terms less likely to appear.
Google also turned off a method of link evaluation that they have used for several years. They didn’t say which one, or how it affected links, that remains to be seen. I can be sure of one thing, having looked at the search trends over the past few months, you can bet that it prioritises high-quality in-bound links from authoritative sources and negatively affects anyone engaging in ‘black-hat’ SEO such as link-swapping or link – farming practises.
Evaluating Googles Search Insights it is apparant that engaging in a search engine optimisation strategy that focusses on great content that generates high quality in-bound links, combined with ‘fresh’ updates that engage your consumer, will reap long-term rewards. Google are trying to eridicate black-hat SEO techniques, by changing the way they evaluate links and promoting fresh relevant content. I’m certain I won’t be proven wrong on that one!